Kid A album artwork

Kid A is the fourth studio album by Radiohead, released in October 2000 by the Parlophone label. Kid A went platinum in its first week of release in the United Kingdom.

This album marks the shift of Radiohead's sound away from guitar to more electronic synth based music. In fact the only songs with any notable lead or acoustic guitar parts are "How To Disappear Completely", "Optimistic" and "In Limbo".

Kid A dispelled the anthemic rock style of previous albums for minimalism - this can be noted from the start of the album:

"Everything in Its Right Place" contains only 5 unique lines of lyrics and only 2 separate synth line chord sequences. The interest of this song appears in the soundscapes created from synth changes and sampled vocal sections editted by the Korg Kaoss Pad. Meanwhile Thom Yorke sucks on a lemon.

"Kid A" comprises of a music box melody line, heavily editted vocals and a "cut up" drum track - which introduces itself properly at 1:36. The lyrics tell of cryptic tales and the final three lines reference the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

"The National Anthem" again presents itself, lyrically, as a very minimalistic piece. It focuses on a (distorted) bass line. The song builds up (in terms of drums and synths) until the lyrics are introduced. Midway through the song a large brass section is introduced and begins to dramitically build up in volume. The brass section ends the song in a very rich and over exburent manner - performers were conducted to make the ending sound like an intense "traffic jam".

"How to Disappear Completely" is a gentle acoustic guitar driven piece featuring a string composition arranged by Jonny Greenwood. Thom Yorke sings dreamy lyrics that have a floating feeling. The prominent line "I'm not here, this isn't happening." originated from R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe's advice to Thom Yorke on the pressure of touring.

"Treefingers" is an instrumental piece based on a chord sequence played on guitar by Ed O'Brien then heavily edited to sound like a a synth that sounds not dissimilar to an organ.

"Optimistic" is the only full on rock song on Kid A. Lyrically its title rings true: "If you try the best you can, the best you can is good enough." This is a line stemming from Thom Yorke's by-then partner Rachel Owens.

"In Limbo" is a song where the guitar and synth parts are most equally balanced in level. It ends with the sound of the Roland RE201 Space Echo reel detuning.

"Idioteque" presents the most radical change of style for Radiohead. Many on /mu/ would claim that this is the most plebeian song on the album (it probably is). It specifically focuses on two samples taken from 1970's experimental computer music and discoteque drum patterns. Thom Yorke sings of environmental worries such as climate change ("Ice age coming"), greed of resources ("Here I'm allowed everything all of the time") and disbelief/ignorance ("We're not scaremongering, this is really happening, happening.")

"Morning Bell" marks the first appearence of the song - meaning it also appears on Kid A's follow up as "Morning Bell: Amnesiac". Focussing on synths and cut up drums, this track is relatively peaceful, aside from the lyric "Cut the kids in half".

"Motion Picture Soundtrack" is possible the most peaceful song on the album, focusing on Thom Yorke's comforting lyrics ("I think you're crazy, maybe" "I will see you in the next life"), an organ and later on, harp strumming. "Motion Picture Soundtrack" features Radiohead's first and only hidden track - the track is not called "Genchildren". The song ends at 3:16, a minute of silence follows then "Genchildren" starts at 4:18 and lasts until 5:08. Another 2 minutes of silence occur before you hit The King of Limbs (if you have it and have your media player arranged in alphabetical order). "Genchildren" itself is simply a short montage of synth sounds.

Critical ReceptionEdit

Track listingEdit

  1. Everything in Its Right Place - 4:11
  2. Kid A - 4:44
  3. The National Anthem - 5:51
  4. How to Disappear Completely - 5:56
  5. Treefingers - 3:42
  6. Optimistic - 5:15
  7. In Limbo - 3:31
  8. Idioteque - 5:09
  9. Morning Bell - 4:35
  10. Motion Picture Soundtrack - 7:01

Radiohead Releases

<<< OK Computer (1997) | Kid A | Amnesiac (2001)  >>>

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